Yes, it IS possible to plan a champagne wedding on a strictly beer budget. It won’t happen overnight, but with effort + savvy shopping you’ll be amazed at the amount of money you can save.
#1 Prioritize Your Spending
Your first step is to think about what’s important to you + your future spouse. If you’ve always dreamed about a huge party with lavish food + wine, you can still have that dream by cutting expenses elsewhere, perhaps on your gown or flowers. And vice versa if a flower-filled bouquet is important to you, host a cake + champagne reception instead of a full meal.
#2 Set a Realistic Budget
The second step is to determine what you can actually afford to spend on a wedding. The average wedding in the United States costs between $28,000 to $33,000, but you don’t have to spend that much to have what is a gorgeous wedding to you.
#3 Wedding Locations That Make Cents
One way to accomplish this is to have the wedding outdoors. There are many beautiful spots, such as parks + beaches that can accommodate weddings. Typically, the only cost associated with these locations is the pavilion rental + sometimes a permit from the county or city where the venue is.
Many couples choose outdoor locations with beautiful natural backdrops so they can cut the cost of decorations. With the ocean or a flowering trees + bushes as your backdrop, you likely won’t need to spend much, if any, on decorations for the ceremony (or reception).
Keep in mind the weather for that time of year + have a rainy day location as a backup. Or buy umbrellas for everyone + just have fun.
#4 DIY Wedding Invitations
Another way to save money is to create your own wedding invitations. If you are not overly creative, there are a variety of graphics programs that can assist you or you can use templates that you personalize with your wedding information. You can use a favorite photograph as the background of your invitation.
Once you create your invitation design, take it to a professional printer for printing. This produces a better quality invitation than you can print on your home printer, the cost will still be less than purchasing custom invitations + it will SAVE you a lot of TIME.
The professional print shop can also print return addresses on the mailing envelopes, mailing addresses on the response card envelopes for you. Again, it’ll cost less than ordering from a wedding invitation store or shop but saves you a ton of time + ink from trying to print this on your own printer at home.
#5 Cut Back on the Wedding Stationery
The amount of wedding stationery can really pile up. There’s the invitation + mailing envelope. Then there’s the reception card (to tell them where the reception is). Then there’s the reply card + mailing envelope. Sometimes, there is even a map, directions or other supplemental card.
That’s a lot of stationery.
Another way to save money on invitations is to go ahead + buy them from a professional stationer BUT cut back on the amount of wedding stationery you use.
If your ceremony + reception are at the same location, print one line at the bottom of the invitation that says something along the lines of, “Reception to immediately follow.” Then, there’s no need for a reception card.
Opt to use an online RSVP system (free or low-cost). Then, you can eliminate the reply card, the reply card envelope + the cost of the stamp you would normally apply for guests to mail back their reply card.
#6 Go with Homemade Food
Ask friends + family members to help you prepare the food. This can save a great deal of money as opposed to having the event catered. Most friends + family members people are be more than happy to help (especially if they are good cooks or enjoy cooking).
Most grocery stores have platters of fruit, veggies, prepared sandwiches + more that can be ordered then easily transported to the reception site. If your heart’s desire is a full sit down dinner, choose lesser priced entrees, such as chicken, from a caterer. Add your own sides, such as store bought-salads for a salad bar. Serve appetizers that have been bought at a big box store or from your grocery store. Arrange all of the foods on pretty serving dishes or in pretty serving bowls.
Even if you decide to prep your own food, consider hiring some staff to man (or woman) the food. Even a buffet requires re-stocking + attention during your event.
#7 Dress for Less
Purchasing your wedding dress at a consignment store or via an online auction is a money saver, as well. Many times you can acquire an expensive designer dress this way with substantial savings… one that you would have not otherwise have been able to afford.
Since pre-owned dresses (unless not worn by the previous owner) are already altered, you might want to buy a dress that is one or two sizes bigger than your normal size. You can have it altered to fit you in a local shop or by a local seamstress. You also want to set some money aside for the alterations.
The short of it is that is possible to have the fabulous wedding you want without spending your entire rainy day fund or financing your wedding. You do have to get a little creative + it might cost you some of your time (or the time of those you enlist to help) BUT you can do it.
Learn every step you need to take to plan the wedding you want. From creating a budget + compiling a guest list to how to spot, lock + hire the best of the best vendors for your upcoming wedding. We’re going heels deep in it together, girl (or guy), so don’t start thinking runaway bride (or groom) style on me yet. Check out The Wedding Workshop now.
I’m Kristie McCauley, a former certified wedding planner + lover of wedding planning. I share tips, advice + how-tos with brides + grooms that are planning their own weddings. Check out The Wedding Workshop, a self-paced course that walks couples step-by-step through the process of planning their own wedding.